Manzil Pakistan - CPLC Round table on Criminal Investigation
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Manzil Pakistan - CPLC Roundtable on Criminal Investigation

Karachi, December 14, 2013 - "The police system must change from 'watch and walk' to a system of police detectives," Abdul Khalique Shaikh DIG said speaking at the CPLC office, "all our resources and quality officers are deputed on day to day activities instead of investigation."

Speaking at the Manzil Pakistan - Citizen's-Police Liaison Committee Round table on Criminal Investigation the DIG added that without a system of incentives for police along with pay commensurate to duty it will be hard to bring any reform in the police.

Senior judges, lawyers, police officials, media personnel and activists came together to highlight flaws in the investigative process and to develop ways to remedy issues faced by the justice system.

Manzil Pakistan, a non-profit public policy think-tank based in Karachi, has been conducting research on the first stage of the investigative process, from the registering of an FIR to the point where the challan is filed, and gathered stakeholders to contribute their real world experiences to help research. This area is being focused on because this is the average citizen's first contact with the justice system and it is an area rife with flaws.

Former Senior Supreme Court Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed said that merit and honesty at every level of the police and judicial system is a must for reform.

The round table is an attempt to bridge the gap between stakeholders, civil society and researchers to provide a platform to help develop implementable policy that can bring greater access to justice for every citizen of Pakistan.

Out of all the crimes reported to the police station only 40% of those crimes result in the registration of an FIR and out of those FIRs registered only 20% make it to trial. Out of those crimes that make it to trial the conviction rate for these is an alarmingly low three percent.

A lack of funding and resources contribute to the dismal state of the investigative process and at the moment there are only four forensic labs in the entire country, one for each provincial capital. Many of the officers lack the proper training to carry out investigations or to keep crime scenes from being contaminated.

Former IG Sindh Aftab Nabi said that one of the problems right at the beginning of the investigative process is that IGs, DIGs, and SPs don't have the ability to say no to politicization and can very rarely resist influence from above. He added that it could be anywhere from one third or more of the police force that has been appointed through political means instead of pure merit.

"There is no way to accurately quantify how many are politically appointed and how many are on merit. There is hardly any relevant training for police officers and this is why the investigative process suffers."

It was learnt that new modules are being developed to train police officers on investigation work at the police training centers.

Mumtaz Ali Shah Additional Chief Secretary Home said that the Home Department will be taking all the recommendations made by the participants at the round table seriously and some suggestions such as the addition of medico-legal officers at different hospitals is already underway.  He also added that a computerization of all databases and departments was necessary to improve the police force.

Zia Awan of Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid added that there is barely any funding for investigations and many times police have to pay out of pocket and they are not reimbursed.

Former governor state bank concluded the event saying that he is confident all the stakeholders will be able to continue meeting and hold fruitful discussions such as this and that researchers will be able to make constructive policy suggestions from the debate.

Also present at the rountable discussion was PPP MPA Sikandar Mandhro, MQM Leader in Sindh Assembly Sardar Ahmad, Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, National Commission for Peace and Justice's Noel Alfonce, Criminal Lawyer Shaukat Hayat, CPLC Chief Ahmed Chinoy and CEO Manzil Pakistan Naheed Memon.

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